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Genocide:
Context &
Legacy
 Oppression
 & Atrocities
 American
 Ambassador
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Personal
Experiences
Punishment
Recognition 
& Demands 
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Personal Experiences & Stories

he following stories and eye witness accounts by foreigners, missionaries and survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century, were recorded during and after the Armenian genocide. To read the complete stories, please click on the underlined words.

  • Henry Riggs, a third generation American missionary in the Ottoman Empire, wrote "Days of Tragedy in Armenia" after his departure from Harpoot (Kharpert) in 1917. This account, which was never fully edited, was submitted in 1918 to an American government commission investigating various aspects of World War I, including the destruction of Armenian communities in the Ottoman Empire. These reports supplemented the United States State Department's own diplomatic and consular records, written by American officials, on the Armenian Genocide. - Rev. Riggs avoided mentioning a number of people by name in his narrative. This was presumably to maintain some sense of anonymity for the victims of Genocide, and to safeguard the well-being of certain individuals who still remained in the Ottoman Empire in 1917.

  • Dirouhi Highgas was born in Konia, Turkey, in 1905, where she and her family were uprooted from their home and deported by the Turkish government in 1915. They were forced to march with other Armenian families to the outskirts of Tarsus. After months of starvation, beatings, and killings, Dirouhi's caravan arrived at a large concentration camp called Gatmanear Aleppo. From here she was forced into a train of cattle cars and sent to the killing center of Deir-el-Zor in the Syrian Desert. Dirouhi escaped death and today lives in Massachusetts. She has written an account of her experiences during the genocide entitled "Refugee Girl" (Watertown, Mass.: Baiker Publications, 1985).

  • Asdadur Giragosian, a survivor of the Sassun massacre (1894) tells about his personal experience and about the heartless crimes carried out by the Turkish soldiers and the Kurds against the Armenian villagers. Along with Asdadur Giragosian was a lad of seventeen years, named Serope Asdadurian, from the village of Mushakhshen, not far from Mush city. His statement shows the state of the region before the date of the massacre.

  • Mr. G.W.E. Russell on the Cretan Crisis - The following excerpt taken from an article published in the “Dunstable Borough Gazette” on March the 10th 1897 describes how the British government of the day had good knowledge of the atrocities taking place in Turkey, at the hands of the Sultan, against its Christian subjects [Armenians]. However, because of political reasons withheld the information from the English public and left those defenceless Christians to be mercilessly massacred by the odious Turkish tyranny.

  • Siamanto (1878-1915), one of the well known Armenian poets who was arrested on April 24, 1915 along with his fellow countrymen and later executed. This is one of his poems called "The Dance" based on a narration of an eye witness German woman, who describes the savage cruelties of the Turkish soldiers against the helpless Armenian women.

  • Massacres at Marash. This is a letter written by a missionary, who was present in Marash when the massacres were taking place. It was written from the Girl's Collage, on the mountain just outside of the city.

  • Massacres at Urfa. This is another letter written by an American missionary lady who was an eye witness to the massacres in Urfa. In spite of the danger, she chose to stay and help the injured and the needy.

  • Letter from Syria. This is a letter published in the 'Tabor Beacon' newspaper in Fremont County, Iowa on January 27, 1910 writen by Miss Effie Chambers an American missionary helping the Armenians in Kessab.

  • Murdered By Turks - A youth tells of Armenian atrocities. Many Armenian Students at Marsovan Drowned - With Heavy Stones Tied About Their Necks They are Thrown into The River. This was the title of one of the articles published in the Tabor Beacon Newspaper on January 4, 1895 in Tabor, Fremont County Iowa.

  • Dying Every Minute. This story is written by Sempad Shahnazarian a survivor of the Armenian genocide. Mr. Shahnazarian was born in Turkey and attended the Armenian College in Constantinople where he received his AB degree shortly before the war began. He was drafted into the Turkish Army and served as an artillery officer until the Turk’s treatment of the Armenian people drove him to desert. He was arrested... escaped again... and joined the French Legion d’Orient fighting the Turks until the end of the war. After the war Mr. Shahnazarian immigrated to America and lived till the age of 96, he passed away on September 22, 1985, in Brownsville, Texas. - This story is an accurate representation of the atrocities carried out by the Turks against the defenseless Armenians. Mr. Shahnazarian writes from his first hand experiences during his service with the French Legion d’Orient, his pen is fluent and poetic, describing every small detail in a graphical manner with an elegant and graceful style.
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  • Genocide -By Sempad Shahnazarian. This story (book) is a realistic presentation of some segments of the author's life during World War I, when Turkey had embarked on a diabolical policy of solving the Armenian National Cause by trying to exterminate the Armenian nation by general deportation and massacre. 
he following two stories are a testament to the determination of the Armenian people to survive the atrocities and massacres carried out by the Ottoman Turks against an unarmed Christian nation. A nation whose faith in God All Mighty has given them the strength to fight and repel the savage, blood-thirsty forces of the Turkish government and save the last remaining piace of Armenia.
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. In time, more stories and eye witness accounts will be added to the above list. If you wish to contribute to the list, we will be happy to hear from you and will rightfully give you credit for your contribution - Hye Etch. 

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Updated 13 October, 2005 ..
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